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Capitalism and the Proper Role of Government

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1. Individual rights require objective law (a premise supplied by Objectivist ethics and politics.)

2. Markets can't produce objective law (an un-supported assertion.)

3. Therefore there must be a single monopolist government to protect individual rights.

We do not reject or object to premise (1). We are simply arguing over premise (2).

Anyone can create objective law; the problem is who enforces it objectively, and via what means? What if those laws and means are rejected by your competitor and they have the means, man power, and technology to not observe the laws of your semi-capitalist "market-created" dictatorship?

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I did not ignore it. I told you why it was illogical and incomprehensible. It is gibberish because it is incomprehensible, it is incomprehensible because the similarity does not exist, or the analog

Not presuming to speak for Mr. Miovas, but he said that one cannot rely on "men's rationality, or good-will, or good intentions to secure legal objectivity" (as you put it). Instead we need a governme

Yes, that doesn't change the point at all. He's saying that "we would have to rely on men's rationality, or good-will, or good intentions to secure legal objectivity" under market defense, and since h

Also, what is with the "you anarchists" and the "are evading" things being thrown around? I'm not even an "anarchist" here necessarily, I'm just trying to foster discussion and hopefuly elimination of error and faulty arguments.

So you are claiming to argue for a position that you agree is irrational for the sake of argument and a sort of test? Or you don't believe the arguments are not actually irrational yet and need to discuss every fine point first within the irrational system to prove it to yourself while ignoring the essential arguments and at the same time denying that they are essential or relevant?

Whole thing is silly.

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Given that, by your own statement, you can offer nothing aside from repeating "the Objectivist corpus," (which I have sitting on my bookshelf if I wanted to consult) then you are on your own statement's grounds of no help whatsoever.

What I meant is what is the point or purpose of arguing in our own words points that have already been made and proven in the past by the only person who is qualified to label it as the official Objectivist position, Miss Rand. How can Objectivists by restating a philosophy in their own words on a forum convince you on an issue if you are not convinced by the real, official, and previously proven arguments? What value does this serve that simply reading the completely accurate sources for the individual reinterpretations does not?

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Who enforces these courts decisions? By what authority? What if my constitution doesn't recognize yours or any of it's enforcing agents and in fact mine claims that you have no rights, all your property is actually mine, and have no right to live without my permission? (I don't even like using the pronoun "mine" in this nightmare scenario world of competing dictatorships)

Anyone can create objective law; the problem is who enforces it objectively, and via what means? What if those laws and means are rejected by your competitor and they have the means, man power, and technology to not observe the laws of your semi-capitalist "market-created" dictatorship?

As in any legal order, the decisions of the judicial function are enforced by the executive function. In this case, by freely competing defense services on the free market operating in accordance with the law. In short, the police, just not a single coercive monopoly police. I'm not sure what you mean "by what authority," but if you'll consult my further posts, maybe that would help. I'm not sure what you mean by "your constitution" since that clashes with my understanding of what a constitution is. If you mean what if you write something on some piece of paper and declare something like that, my guess is that the same thing would happen as now, i.e. nobody would care or pay attention to you, and so I'm wondering why you think that would be any different. I don't know what you mean by "market-created" dictatorship, but this just seems like hyperbole.

Speaking of Miss Rand, here is the passage under "anarchy" on the online Lexicon. She addresses the issue of "competing governments" or anarcho-capitalism specifically.

Yes, we all can read the Lexicon. Turns out, Rand did not address any of the arguments I made in this thread. Dang, what to do now?

All in all, these non-responses are rather disappointing. I don't know why you seem to think this is some kind of contest of who can denounce the other person as irrational more efficiently, especially when such statements appear asserted without any argumentation whatsoever. Thomas started the thread out by posting his essay criticizing some arguments for anarchy, but apparently seems unwelcome of any criticism of his own arguments, generally unresponsive, and just repeating the same assertions over. EC has his own kind of response which is a complete embarrassment to Objectivism in particular and philosophy in general, in that he seems to think that proofs for everything of value were provided by Rand and that there is no purpose to discuss what has been labeled the "official Objectivist position." So much for critical examination of any of Rand's arguments, or any of the arguments other Objectivists produce. I guess Objectivists should just stop trying to take over academic or scholarly philosophy and just give out books since they contain the official Objectivist position with no further criticism or elaboration necessary.

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Yes, we all can read the Lexicon. Turns out, Rand did not address any of the arguments I made in this thread. Dang, what to do now?

I'm calling bullshit, here, since she did address your issues in her essay, "The Nature of Government" and it is quoted in the Lexicon. But since you are just arguing for the sake of arguing and don't have a dog in this race, since you claim you are not advocating for the anarchist position, I fail to see why anyone should respond to you further.

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Your thinking here disregards the law of non-contradiction.

And while I'm at it, Grames you can spare the lectures about disregarding the law of non-contradiction. What we're having is called a disagreement. It's not as if I really agree with your points, it's just that I disregard the law of non-contradiction, it's that I don't agree with your conclusions. So instead of spending the time to lecture someone to obey the laws of logic, you should spend the time explaining where my argument goes astray.
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I'm calling bullshit, here, since she did address your issues in her essay, "The Nature of Government" and it is quoted in the Lexicon. But since you are just arguing for the sake of arguing and don't have a dog in this race, since you claim you are not advocating for the anarchist position, I fail to see why anyone should respond to you further.

You can call bullshit, and I claim otherwise, but leaving it at that is not an argument. If you think Rand ever addressed any of the points I'm brought up here, then show it, demonstrate it, prove it. Why all the hating? We know we disagree, but if you're sincirely insterested in getting to a conclusion, then what we're after is what and why. You have failed to satisfy that end, if it was your purpose in opening this thread (you know, to discuss arguments for government.)
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Ayn Rand on "competing governments", the anarcho-capitalist position: "A recent variant of anarchistic theory, which is befuddling some of the younger advocates of freedom, is a weird absurdity called “competing governments.” Accepting the basic premise of the modern statists—who see no difference between the functions of government and the functions of industry, between force and production, and who advocate government ownership of business—the proponents of “competing governments” take the other side of the same coin and declare that since competition is so beneficial to business, it should also be applied to government. Instead of a single, monopolistic government, they declare, there should be a number of different governments in the same geographical area, competing for the allegiance of individual citizens, with every citizen free to “shop” and to patronize whatever government he chooses.....One cannot call this theory a contradiction in terms, since it is obviously devoid of any understanding of the terms “competition” and “government.” Nor can one call it a floating abstraction, since it is devoid of any contact with or reference to reality and cannot be concretized at all, not even roughly or approximately."
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And while I'm at it, Grames you can spare the lectures about disregarding the law of non-contradiction. What we're having is called a disagreement. It's not as if I really agree with your points, it's just that I disregard the law of non-contradiction, it's that I don't agree with your conclusions. So instead of spending the time to lecture someone to obey the laws of logic, you should spend the time explaining where my argument goes astray.

I thought I was.

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See look, I can write entertaining hypothetical scenarios too.

Entertaining to whom? (And I'm not asking that just because you decided to kill off our dear Trebor.)

The year is 1933. freedom around the world has be successfully destroyed, and there has arisen the modern democratic nation-state. However, there has also arisen politicians to satisfy the demands of voters with bad philosophy, they can be put in office for a price (a vote) to beat, rob, and kill people. The democratic mob votes Adolph Smithler into office and gives him unlimited power, so he sends Trebor to a concentration camp. There was no one to protect Trebor, since he supported democracy and helped to contribute to the situation.

"[F]reedom around the world has [been] successfully destroyed, and there has arisen the modern democratic nation-state."

What?

The modern democratic nation-state already exists, including "politicians to satisfy the demands of voters with bad philosophy(s)" and they are "put in office for a price (a vote) to beat, rob and kill people."

It's nonsense to talk of some state of affairs as having "arisen" when it already exists.

Further, the "democratic mob votes Adolph Smithler into office and gives him unlimited power, so he sends Trebor to a concentration camp" since he, the hero of your touching story, Trebor, supported "democracy and helped to contribute to the situation"?

I'm sorry. I knew Trebor. Trebor was a good friend of mine, and you're no Trebor!. Trebor never supported democracy. By "helped to contribute to the situation," I can only wonder what you might mean.

However, there was a man, a man with no name, a man who, in the dying days of the republic spent his time and effort arguing for a "free market of competing protection services." He would argue and argue and argue and insist that the discussion should progress. "Progress," of course, simply meant that others should finally accept that he was right.

And others did, in time, come to accept that he was right. Great numbers of others.

He spoke of liberty, and of a path for hope and change. "2046 will be our year!"

"2046, 2046, 2046!" the crowds would shout. "2046" was in everyone's thoughts - even lovers had come to shout "2046, 2046, 2046!," in a crescendo in the throws of their passion.

Never learning his actual name, the people began to call him "2046."

"2046 will lead us to freedom!"

The rest of the story is now history. "2046" did lead the world in a great battle. "Smash the State!" the people cried. "We want competing protection services!"

And smash the state(s) they did. Everywhere the world over.

That was now many, many years ago. Mankind has made a great leap backwards, and those once common shrines to "2046" are long gone now, turned to dust with the dreams of "competing protection agencies."

Unfortunately, this doesn't constitute an argument, or prove anything one way or another. Nor does what you posted before, which borrows from the mainstream tradition of stating some anti-statist position, but without actually explaining the positions, disclosing any of the evidence or rationale offered, or bothering to show why I was wrong. It guess it is enough to state what I had said, usually intentionally distorted or, at the most, in a way intended imply that it is ridiculous, and leave it at that, as if it were self-evidently wrong.

It wasn't meant as an argument.

So if we were to address any of your points, are we saying here that we have to destroy all governments? This is rather ambiguous. If by "destroy all governments" you mean that we shouldn't have any organized protection against the use of force, or that we shouldn't have objective procedures, or some similar straw man, then no. If by "destroy all governments" you mean that one producer of defense under objective rules and procedures should have the right to prevent another producer of defense under objective rules and procedures from going into competition with it to provide such defense service, or to require consumers of security to come exclusively to it for this commodity, then yes, that is exactly what they want to do.

To have these competing "governments" or "protection agencies" or whatever else you (or others) might call them, you have to get rid of monopolistic governments.

Since governments are legal institutions with a monopoly on the use of force within a geographical area, then, in order to have these "competing protection agencies," you have to get rid of (destroy) government(s). ("The Enemy Is Always the State" by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.)

From what you've said, I think we're in agreement about that. It seems silly to call your "competing protection agencies" governments given that governments are in fact institutions with a monopoly on the use of force in a given geographical area, and something you are against. Why confuse things by calling "competing protection agencies" governments?

So, it's governments versus "competing protection agencies." They're mutually exclusive, by even your own terms.

However, are you or your personal "protection agency" going to ban other "producers of defense" who disagree with what you think to be objective rules and procedures (and even rights) from going into competition with you and your "protection agency" and then require consumers of security to come exclusively to you or your protection agency for this "commodity"?

Now the other point. But what if there should be some outlaw protectors, that decide to initiate aggression instead? Again, we don't assert that there could never be such an instance, so it is unclear what this is designed to prove.

"Outlaw protectors"? What in the world is an "outlaw protector"? A "protection agency" that doesn't bow to your "protection agency's" laws? By what right does your "protection agency" have the right to create laws that govern non-consumers of your "commodity"?

"Initiate aggression"? By what standard or more correctly, whose standard? Yours or that of your "protection agency"?

And speaking of free competition of "protection agencies," why can't any individual just be his own "protection agency"? Is your protection agency going to require that all individuals pay some "protection agency" for protection?

The key to this whole discussion is the implicit belief that it is not actually philosophy that determines the state of affairs of the world, but politics. And so the focus is on some political strategy or model that somehow sets up the best incentives for the protection of individual rights. It's the old libertarian view that philosophy is irrelevant, that "liberty" is axiomatic (or self-evident to anyone who thinks), that everyone, or most everyone, wants liberty. But of course they do if "liberty" simply means freedom from force. Everyone recoils from force. "Initiated force"? Again, by what standard? Christianity? Islam? Communism? Nazism? Fascism? Socialism? Etc., etc., etc. Miss Rand is right however, it is philosophy that has gotten us into this mess, and it is only philosophy that will get us out of it.

For you, or others, this might be of some help: "Seminar: Philosophy and the Evolution of the Mixed Economy" - a 30 minutes video presentation by Dr. Stephen Hicks (with a flowchart).

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And where in the above is addressed any of the points I presented? We know she argued against anarcho-capitalism, but nowhere is found in Rand anything addressing any of the arguments I made in this thread.

I'm not trying to cut off rational discussion, but when someone points out to you that your position is full of contradictions and you either evade them or downright just don't get it, then what are we supposed to do? We cannot do your thinking for you. Are we supposed to counter you point by point, which we have all done to one degree or another, and you still don't get it; and then you claim that Miss Rand didn't discuss your "points", then that beats all. Square circles cannot exist -- we point that out to you in some detail -- and then you raise even more details. Learn to think in terms of principles. All of the points you have raised means a government (constitutions, jurisdiction, rules of operation, courts, etc.) which is contradictory to anarchy in the first place. And then you continue to fail to see that the free exchange of bullets is not the same as the free exchange of goods and services; that a "competition of force" can only mean open warfare in the streets, with no overriding legal system to reign in the blood. Current Somalia is your idea country, but I know you are going to claim that it isn't, because while they don't have a government, you would claim that they don't have a "free market" in defense agencies or agencies of force.

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I'm not trying to cut off rational discussion, but when someone points out to you that your position is full of contradictions and you either evade them or downright just don't get it, then what are we supposed to do?

What you are supposed to do is respond with an actual argument. You say my position is full of contradictions, yet you haven't demonstrated this. You say I evade you, yet I have responded to every single post of yours in here, and yet when I do respond to your points, you ignore them and then keep arguing from repetition as if no response has been made.

For example, the very quote you just responded to. You posted a link to the Lexicon, as if I just joined the forum yesterday and haven't read anything Ayn Rand wrote. When I point out to you that this helps nothing and adds nothing to the discussion because Ayn Rand never responded to or addressed any of the arguments for anarcho-capitalism that I made in this thread, then you say basically nuh huh yes she did. I find this odd, since we can all see what Rand wrote, so I ask you to show me. When you post the supposed proof, the generic section from VOS, I ask you where in that section do you think constitutes a response to any of the arguments I made in this thread. Instead of responding, you proceed to accuse me of evading and denouncing me. Instead of trying to see where we disagree and what could be clarified to reach a conclusion, you accuse me of immorality and denounce me. Is this the kind of standards you would accept in a scholarly debate? I'm beginning to wonder why this is.

We cannot do your thinking for you.

See, what is the point of a statement like this? I'm beginning to wonder if you're capable of doing your thinking for you, either.

Are we supposed to counter you point by point,

Umm... yes? That would be nice. Seeing as how that's what I've been asking for this whole time. You can start with the posts that you've never responded to yet. Somehow I doubt you will do this though. Maybe more denunciations are to come?

which we have all done to one degree or another,

No, you have all not done. Grames for instance stopped responding at #73. you stopped responding at #70. Start there if you want to continue, though I doubt you will.

and you still don't get it; and then you claim that Miss Rand didn't discuss your "points", then that beats all.

Yes? What is the point of this statement? Do you only discuss things that Rand discussed, and only discuss points that she discusses? You do understand that academic debate requires you to discuss many points that philosophers never raised in connection with their systems of thought, and that Rand never covered every issue or every angle of every issue, and that that's what a nice thing to do on a forum is, right? So no, that doesn't "beat all," what "beats all" is that a guy opens a thread on a topic posting a polemic against a position, but is unwilling to respond to the points raised against his own criticism. If you wanted to write an essay that no one would respond to, why post it in a forum at all?

Square circles cannot exist --

Squared circles cannot exist. Okay. How does that help me? This is sloganizing. I don't need sloganizing. I need an argument. Use logic, not sloganizing.

we point that out to you in some detail -- and then you raise even more details.

Yes, god damn me for raising details. I don't get it?

Learn to think in terms of principles. All of the points you have raised means a government (constitutions, jurisdiction, rules of operation, courts, etc.) which is contradictory to anarchy in the first place.

I know you think that, but I made an argument to the contrary. In order to refute it, you actually have to address it, not just post that you think it's wrong. That is the whole point of a discussion, after all. Try responding to #70 or #73, ready, set, go.

And then you continue to fail to see that the free exchange of bullets is not the same as the free exchange of goods and services; that a "competition of force" can only mean open warfare in the streets, with no overriding legal system to reign in the blood.

I responded to this point too, I guess you're going to pretend that response doesn't exist and declare I'm the evader for not seeing the light?

Current Somalia is your idea country, but I know you are going to claim that it isn't, because while they don't have a government, you would claim that they don't have a "free market" in defense agencies or agencies of force.

See, this is the perfect example of a non-argument. Why is Somalia my idea country? We don't know, we just know that it is. Why? Cause you say so apparently. There is no supporting reasons.

An argument usually has some reasons or premises, followed by the words "therefore," "thus," "because," "so," "for," etc. See, an argument goes like this:

1. Your ideal is X.

2. Somalia has X.

3. Therefore Somalia is your idea country.

But we don't get that here. We just get the conclusion without any explanation. I'm afraid that won't do.

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It wasn't meant as an argument.

Okay then, it serves no purpose, and we can leave that out from now on.

From what you've said, I think we're in agreement about that. It seems silly to call your "competing protection agencies" governments given that governments are in fact institutions with a monopoly on the use of force in a given geographical area, and something you are against. Why confuse things by calling "competing protection agencies" governments?

So, it's governments versus "competing protection agencies." They're mutually exclusive, by even your own terms

Yes, then it seems we're in agreement on those points.

However, are you or your personal "protection agency" going to ban other "producers of defense" who disagree with what you think to be objective rules and procedures (and even rights) from going into competition with you and your "protection agency" and then require consumers of security to come exclusively to you or your protection agency for this "commodity"?
It seems as though here you are asking whether or not people have various "procedural rights" on top of, or in accordance with, whatever individual rights they also have. And so what I'm going to say is yes, I think they do. The question then is do you have a right to resist, in self-defense, if others try to apply to you an unreliable or unfair procedure of justice? And I'm also going to agree with Robert Nozick and say yes to that.

So then the question is, well what if people disagree, as no doubt they will, about what exactly are the proper procedural rights, what do you do then? Well this is not a new point being brought up. I'm going to call this the "people disagree" argument, which asks the question about what to do regarding the conflicting interpretations of justice that people have, and I provided the response to it in #73, which I note has not been answered to by anyone thus far.

"Outlaw protectors"? What in the world is an "outlaw protector"? A "protection agency" that doesn't bow to your "protection agency's" laws? By what right does your "protection agency" have the right to create laws that govern non-consumers of your "commodity"?

"Initiate aggression"? By what standard or more correctly, whose standard? Yours or that of your "protection agency"?

And speaking of free competition of "protection agencies," why can't any individual just be his own "protection agency"? Is your protection agency going to require that all individuals pay some "protection agency" for protection?

I confess I am a bit confused by the above flurry of questions. An outlaw agency would be an agency that doesn't follow the law. As far as what law, whose law, what right, whose rights, etc. The questions can also be rephrased with equal confusion: What counts as an outlaw government? A government that doesn't bow to your government's laws? By what right does your government create laws that other people don't like? Whose standards? Whose law? What if you and your neighbor disagree about what the law should be? Are you and your Congressman going to decide for me and my Congressman? Hmm, what do you do about that? I don't know why these questions pose a problem because the principles of justice are grounded in reality, and thus they fall within the province of human knowledge. As far as "people disagree" about them, this of course is true, and thus I point you to the same response above for that.

The key to this whole discussion is the implicit belief that it is not actually philosophy that determines the state of affairs of the world, but politics. And so the focus is on some political strategy or model that somehow sets up the best incentives for the protection of individual rights. It's the old libertarian view that philosophy is irrelevant, that "liberty" is axiomatic (or self-evident to anyone who thinks), that everyone, or most everyone, wants liberty. But of course they do if "liberty" simply means freedom from force. Everyone recoils from force. "Initiated force"? Again, by what standard? Christianity? Islam? Communism? Nazism? Fascism? Socialism? Etc., etc., etc. Miss Rand is right however, it is philosophy that has gotten us into this mess, and it is only philosophy that will get us out of it.
Well I think here is a substantive point, and I think it is a bit of a misunderstanding. We are in agreement that philosophy, not politics determines the state of affairs of the world. But that does not get rid of the questions of politics. They still do have to be determined. I am not saying that, and there does seem to be a bit of a confusion sometimes with Objectivists, that if we institute the proper government, then the Objectivist movement is over and done and can disband overnight, or that society will turn into Objectivists overnight, and all will be happy. Of course this isn't true, and philosophy will have to get us out of the mess. But once it does, the question still remains: what kind of political institutions do we set up, what kind of political structure does it take to implement our philosophy?

The question of political structure does not mean lack of emphasis on philosophy, nor imply that once the right structure is set up that all is well and the right philosophy will appear out of nowhere. Both questions are complimentary and indispensable in any system. The question of political structure and articulated philosophical principles is a joint undertaking in any political philosophy, articulated principles and incentive structures jointly supplement each other. It is the same in any system. Take the US government for example. There is a constitution, and there is a Bill of Rights. There is a political structure and there is the corresponding philosophic principles. In any political system, it is true that articulated principles come first and ground the system, but once you have that grounding, it doesn't simply solve all the problems and stop there. It is not enough to simply decree that a government shall do this and shall not do that, and shall be based on this or that philosophy. One must specify a political structure (e.g., separation of powers, checks and balances, etc.) that corresponds to the articulated philosophical principles (pursuit of happiness, liberty, individual rights), and in fact a successful political structure is one that gives individual participants an incentive to act as the articulated principles specify. So the question here is not "what political system will make people into perfect Objectivists or libertarians without philosophy," that would be a complete misunderstanding. The question is what political structure does the best job of providing its constituent agents with the appropriate incentives to govern themselves in a manner consistent with rationality, egoism, and individual rights.

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Anyone can create objective law; the problem is who enforces it objectively, and via what means? What if those laws and means are rejected by your competitor and they have the means, man power, and technology to not observe the laws of your semi-capitalist "market-created" dictatorship?

It doesn't surprise me that you never answered this since this is the essential issue that in unanswerable in a system where you create an entangled state of government/non-government existing in the same place at the same time. Or of constitutions that are made and enforced by non-authority/authority at the same time in places that are nation-state/non-nation-state at the same place and time.

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Well, I did answer that in the first paragraph of #105. If you find anything about this answer unsatisfactory, why don't you elaborate. You can try to explain it, and we can try to come to a conclusion through cooperative error elimination. What in my answer seems as though there is simultaneously all of these things, like government authority and so forth and their negations? Perhapse you have a sort of Platonic or dualistic view of these things that we can work out. Or, if you're really ambitious to prove me wrong, maybe you can respond to some of the points I made in #73, since no one did, where I think the answer to this was put forth.

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Well, I did answer that in the first paragraph of #105. If you find anything about this answer unsatisfactory, why don't you elaborate. You can try to explain it, and we can try to come to a conclusion through cooperative error elimination. What in my answer seems as though there is simultaneously all of these things, like government authority and so forth and their negations? Perhapse you have a sort of Platonic or dualistic view of these things that we can work out. Or, if you're really ambitious to prove me wrong, maybe you can respond to some of the points I made in #73, since no one did, where I think the answer to this was put forth.

Hey, so, I've been reading along for a while, though I have to admit that I struggle to understand some of the back-and-forth. Even though you may have spoken to it before -- and I apologize if that's the case -- I have a few questions to ask in order to help clarify matters for myself. If you don't mind?

Let's agree that modern Somalia isn't your "ideal." What would your ideal country specifically need as foundation in order to have your proposed free market in defense? What would it need that Somalia doesn't at present have?

Or another way to approach: what practical changes would the modern US need to make to achieve what you're talking about? I don't need all the specifics, and I don't expect you to have them, but in general terms how might this be implemented?

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2046: Okay then since you seem to seem to think that post #73 is essential to your argument while I see it as a wall of text jumping all over the place please abstract out the principles you're speaking of in a cliff note form so that they can be truly examined.

The basics that I get is that: everyone (or most people) has (or have) differing views on justice and you believe that competing pseudo-government markets can best bring those groups of people together who most closely share the same views on justice and according to this they will form stable little pockets of society. Somehow in there I believe you point to some mechanism that either nullifies or attenuates what effects could be caused on these little independent societies by other groups that share opposite or no concepts of justice but that possess equal or greater resources and could destroy them?

My point is exactly the opposite of this. I agree people now and maybe in the future may have differing concepts of justice, but that this point is completely irrelevant. There is only one concept of justice that is objective and falls in line with reality. This objective concept of justice and laws should be forced on all men regardless of their opinions on the matter. Whether all or none agree with objective concepts of law and justice is irrelevant; this is the only arena where men should literally have no choice in the matter. They must be forced to abide by objective laws that have objective punishments if they wish to live in a society regardless of their opinion on the matter. This is the purpose of government and only a government can do this. By the very definition of your society men have a choice in this regard. I am saying they do not and can not if they wish to live in and enjoy the products of a society.

.

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Hey, so, I've been reading along for a while, though I have to admit that I struggle to understand some of the back-and-forth. Even though you may have spoken to it before -- and I apologize if that's the case -- I have a few questions to ask in order to help clarify matters for myself. If you don't mind?

Let's agree that modern Somalia isn't your "ideal." What would your ideal country specifically need as foundation in order to have your proposed free market in defense? What would it need that Somalia doesn't at present have?

Or another way to approach: what practical changes would the modern US need to make to achieve what you're talking about? I don't need all the specifics, and I don't expect you to have them, but in general terms how might this be implemented?

One of the points that I want to discuss is the idea of just kind of treating these concepts as something apart from the society in which they exist. So, if you say something like "You want anarchy. Somalia is an anarchy. Therefore you want Somalia." This is a kind of imprecise and rationalistic way of dealing with the situation. That's kind of why I have been avoiding this term that has almost no precise meaning whatsoever. It's like saying "You want a government. Nazi Germany is a government. Therefore you want Nazi Germany." Well no, what you want is a specific kind of government with a specific kind of structure and law code, and so what I want is a specific kind of polycentric legal order with a specific kind of law code.

When dealing with the Somalia objection, we need to keep our comparisons fair. This is the basic ceteris paribus requirement in the logic of comparisons. This kind of goes back into what I have been saying in #73, and what I have replied to Trebor above about the influence of philosophy as being the primary foundation for any society, no matter what the system is, and what the misunderstanding of what I'm saying is. Yes, it's clear that there can be regions where there's no central governing authority, and for a variety of reasons, a libertarian society doesn't just emerge next Tuesday. So we should be clear that I'm not making the claim, nor do I think this is necessary for the case that I am making to succeed, that we're just gonna "smash the state" or "destroy the government" or whatever you want to say, and all these free market forces are just going to kick in and have this grand peaceful and harmonious society just pop out. So we need to be careful not to make that as a straw man.

So what is unique about Somalia that differs from what I am talking about? Well, I don't really know that much about the history of Somalia, but just sticking to my broad understanding about that country and what we see in these types of situations generally, is that that region is a place where, first of all, Enlightenment philosophy never touched, and so they used to have some sort of government that descended into civil war, and that's basically (if I can make it in a nutshell) why it is the mess it is now. So it's not as if these people had a government, then one day they were all reading Mises and Rand, and then read some Murray Rothbard or whatever, and they decided like hey, let's abolish the government and be libertarians. That's obviously not what happened. Rather it was more something like you have a group of statists bordering on Stone Age level of development (i.e. have no respect for individual rights and its philosophical basis), and they were all trying to kill each other because they wanted to seize control of the government or whatever, and then no one group was strong enough, so the government fell and now they're all fighting each other, and they basically know no other life style.

So what we see here is that, in order for the argument that the kind of market-based legal order I'm advocating will inevitably end up in civil war of some kind to succeed, it's not enough just to point to some example of a civil war, because you could on the same grounds say, look there is an example of a government that degenerated into civil war, and governments do degenerate into civil war all the time, therefore all governments will degenerate into civil war. Is this an argument against government, again like our argument against Nazi Germany it would be an invalid generalization, no I don't think so, so it can't be an argument against a market-based legal order either. For the Somalia objection to work, you would need (adhering to ceteris paribus) to argue that a given community would remain lawful under a government, but that the same community would break down into continuous warfare if all production of security and protection were privatized. The popular case of Somalia, therefore, helps neither side. Insofar as this might lead into the question of "but what if people disagree" or have different interpretations of justice, I refer back to #73.

As far as what practical changes would need to be made, well this is more a question of strategy about how to achieve an end in mind, so I don't really want to go off topic on that. I will just content to say that I don't think it is really any different from the current strategy employed by most Objectivists and libertarians of having a basically "bottom up" change by effecting philosophical change in the nation. I don't think either top-down control from politics, or violent revolution would be moral or practical.

Edited by 2046
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One of the points that I want to discuss is the idea of just kind of treating these concepts as something apart from the society in which they exist. So, if you say something like "You want anarchy. Somalia is an anarchy. Therefore you want Somalia." This is a kind of imprecise and rationalistic way of dealing with the situation.

[...]

For the Somalia objection to work, you would need (adhering to ceteris paribus) to argue that a given community would remain lawful under a government, but that the same community would break down into continuous warfare if all production of security and protection were privatized. The popular case of Somalia, therefore, helps neither side. Insofar as this might lead into the question of "but what if people disagree" or have different interpretations of justice, I refer back to #73.

My intention in referring back to Somalia wasn't to raise it as an objection. It's an attempt to visualize how the things you're describing would "look," if put into practice. I wanted to know what it is that Somalia lacks vis-a-vis the system you're arguing for -- to find the crucial difference between the anarchy which exists there, and the anarchy that you think would work.

I think that what you're saying is (something like) that for Somalia, or anyone else, to have the system you recommend, Somalis would first need to be Objectivists (or maybe at least something like it; something akin to the philosophy of the Enlightenment). That's a topic that I think could stand further discussion, but let it pass for the moment. Do your societal requirements end there?

You also say that you'd want "a specific kind of polycentric legal order with a specific kind of law code." And if possible, I think this is some of what I'd like to explore. When you say that there's a legal order, and a law code, how would those things be implemented without an overarching government?

I mean, if we're saying that there's a "law code," that means that someone could presumably choose to violate that code, right? How would the society we're talking about deal with those who opted out of your law code? (Or if people could opt out of this code as they chose, then in what sense could we say that this society operated by that code at all?) Maybe it would also be helpful to have an idea as to the kinds of things that this law code would specify... can you give me an idea as to the nature of this law code?

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Now some of you guys are talking about "a law code" that would be applicable throughout the whole country based upon Enlightenment ideals; but somehow, a law code covering a whole country would not be a government nor lead to a government (like the early United States). And then you claim Somalia is not really an anarchy because it didn't come about due to Enlightenment ideals, but sprang up when someone began fighting the former government. So, you want to end all governments, just not through violence, people will just volunteer to do away with the countrywide protection of their rights under the law and go with competing agencies of force, who evident abide by a law code that is applicable to everyone, but not enforceable by a government. But, of course, there are no contradictions here, merely misunderstandings; like it is possible to have law without government, and Enlightened men seeking to buy defense services who will be assured not to buy services that go against justice because they are paying for it after all. So, no one would pay, say, $100 to kill off someone who did one an injustice, even though it is a good price for the service and is guaranteed by the force agency.

I think Miss Rand is right, this whole thing about anarcho-capitalism cannot be concretized, as it makes no sense at all.

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Not only "law codes" without government(s), but "countries" without governments as well. And even "constitutions" without governments. (What I see is stolen concepts and question begging, using concepts (like "laws," "countries," "constitutiones") divorced from their cognitive base, and assuming the thing that is in question: the plausibility of "competing protection agencies" absent any government.)

2046 has been putting the onus on others to prove that "anarcho-capitalism" is not an arbitrary construct, but the onus is properly his.

Has there ever been anything approximating what he thinks should be "competing protection agencies" with no government?

I look forward to seeing his efforts in defending his ideal, in the vein of replying to DonAthos's questions, for starters.

Edited by Trebor
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No, you have all not done. Grames for instance stopped responding at #73.

#73 has a show-stopping gross conceptual error in it. It is logically impossible to proceed beyond it. I've pointed it out but you expect me to ignore it and reply to #73 anyway, as if that were possible. But I can't do the impossible. I'm not in some kind of temperamental pique, there just is no way forward from where you essentially "drove the discussion into a ditch".

You are so wedded to this error that it seems you can't even perceive it. It is a blindspot for you. The only way around a blindspot is to work it out explicitly and as formally as possible, naming the concepts involved, their definitions and their inter-relations. If we agree on the definition of a market then the next thing is find some common concept for a government and a "legal system", which are related concepts but not quite the same thing.

edit: I meant common definitions between you and I, not common between "government" and "legal system". Sorry for the ambiguity.

Edited by Grames
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Not only "law codes" without government(s), but "countries" without governments as well. And even "constitutions" without governments. (What I see is stolen concepts and question begging, using concepts (like "laws," "countries," "constitutiones") divorced from their cognitive base, and assuming the thing that is in question: the plausibility of "competing protection agencies" absent any government.)

2046 has been putting the onus on others to prove that "anarcho-capitalism" is not an arbitrary construct, but the onus is properly his.

Has there ever been anything approximating what he thinks should be "competing protection agencies" with no government?

I look forward to seeing his efforts in defending his ideal, in the vein of replying to DonAthos's questions, for starters.

I made the same argument in different words saying he is arguing for "entangled states" of these exact concepts and their antithesis and he went off on a tangent saying that I must have Platonic premises when all I meant is that none of these things can be both A and non-A at the same time.

Edited by EC
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